Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads

Market Update Chart Green


Cutout values ended the week pretty much on par with last week but the tone was considerably different from beginning to end. The first half saw final support for last minute needs. Wholesale prices started to roll over and were slightly weaker Thursday with expectations of an even sharper decline to follow. This slowed the pace of trade considerably the last session. The same set of items–briskets, outside skirts and tri-tips—still seem to have support so they may be able to remain in a tight channel.

Angus Beef

Ribs and rounds have remained stellar performers for the Angus beef packer. Briskets, tri-tips and outside skirts have recently traded at either 52-week or historical-data-base-high levels. Strip loin values have eased a bit on alleviated demand. Ground beef values also slipped lower as feature ads after the Memorial Day weekend were not as prominent. Cattle grades improved over the past couple of weeks, with the Choice grade now nearing 72%.


There wasn’t a real clear path from Monday to Friday this week; many items experienced somewhat choppy trade. We saw bone-in loins as pretty well sold for the bulk of the week before some late-week discounting surfaced. Boneless was widely available all week, but traded in-range. The balance of the loin complex was narrowly mixed and the composite value was basically unchanged. Picnic and cushion meat strengthened, in line with the trend in lean sausage materials. The butt market continued to deteriorate, but not as steeply as the past two weeks. Product became increasingly available when foreign buying slowed and overwhelmed the market. Butts steadied late-week amid seasonal influences. Sparerib values gained almost daily amid renewed seasonal buying interest; small and medium ribs added $4.00/cwt and $8.50/ cwt respectively. St. Louis ribs and loin back ribs ranged steady/firm.


Whole birds and WOGs were rated about steady; market values appear to have settled after falling for more than a week. The same can be said for jumbo breast meat. After several days of deep discounts, sellers were back to asking normal levels. However, buyers remained cautious in their approach. Tenders were rated full steady to firm. Further processing needs were increasing by the day. Wings were still well supported. Whole breasts and fronts are in demand. Fresh bone-in dark meat is mostly steady. Asked and paid values for most items were market related. Thigh meat was still snug and moving with relative ease; leg meat was in a similar position.